As a lifelong Pirates fan, I have never felt threatened when attending baseball games. We need to deal with the risks of terrorist attacks, but the Pirates' overreaction on Tuesday night was very disheartening.
I arrived at the park and saw crowds of people standing in lines at every gate. With thousands of people bunched together, I felt more afraid than I ever have walking on Federal Street. It reminded me of people crowding the finish line at the Boston Marathon, unsuspecting that a bomb was soon going to injure and kill some of them. Meanwhile, I watched wanding of bare arms and legs, a useless effort to look for hidden weapons. What I didn't see was security watching for suspicious activity or ready to help in an emergency.
As a society, we often address the symptoms of tragic events, but rarely do we fix the root causes. We face many dangers going to a baseball game. There are injuries and deaths due to car accidents, heart attacks during the game and foul balls and flying bats into the stands, to name a few. I am willing to bet that these far outnumber the injuries and deaths due to violence at PNC Park.
I applaud the Pirates for stopping beer sales in the late innings, encouraging designated drivers, offering healthy food options, having ushers respond to foul balls and even for putting in place the past security policies. Please don't ruin the game by trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist. Continue to visually search bags for guns and bombs, have visible security, invest in surveillance equipment to catch the bad guys. But forcing thousands of people to stand in line to be searched for small knives is not making us any safer. It definitely doesn't make me feel any safer.